Meet the Therapist: Flavia Trevisani
What attracted you to become a therapist?
Since leaving university I have worked in six countries on two continents, with experience ranging from private sector, government agencies/international bodies and third sector and in the past 10 years I have worked in offices of high profile ultrahigh net worth individuals. I have witnessed what stress and pressure can do to people in a variety of settings and different countries. I have also witnessed how family/relationship tensions can affect someone’s work and bring a person to their knees and how work pressures can affect even the brightest of individuals and submit them to paralysing anxiety and burnouts, even impacting their private lives. This can result in people oftentimes using unhealthy coping mechanisms to stay afloat whether it is food, alcohol, drugs or other unhealthy numbing distractions.
Surprisingly certain people, no matter the strain and what had to endure, seemed immune to those pressure and stresses and seemed to thrive as opposed to barely get by. The key was that they knew how to manage their unhealthy negative emotions whether it was anxiety, anger, hurt etc. and that they turned to healthy coping mechanisms.
In 2018 I realised I wanted to retrain and help people to take care of their mental health so that whatever challenge they were about to face, at home or at work they could thrive as opposed to merely survive.
Where did you train?
I trained at the College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies and currently working towards a full accreditation with the NCS. I also hold a Masters and Bachelor degree in unrelated disciplines.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I practice rational and emotive behavioural therapy which falls under the umbrella of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). I chose this modality because it is pragmatic, structured and able to help people in a relatively short amount of time. It is also philosophical and humanistic and I have witnessed people who have not responded well to CBT making actually great progress with REBT.
How does REBT help with symptoms of anxiety?
REBT primarily looks at the thinking patterns, the beliefs that are at the root cause of the anxiety and addresses them so that they can be replaced by healthier ones. It also provides you with coping mechanism that you can apply to minimise certain symptoms all while we are going through the process. I will also be able to teach you the tools so that wherever you are, whenever you need it, you have the ability to identify that anxiety and tackle it yourself.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with both private clients and NHS patients. When it comes to referrals I receive from the GP, I work with a number of clinically diagnosed cases mainly general anxiety disorder and dysthymia (depression), but I also see private clients who display a variety of presenting issues from: stress at work, anxiety, depression, OCD, eating disorders, anger, hurt, guilt etc.
What do you like about being a therapist?
It’s priceless for me to be part of helping people experiencing a transformative internal shift. And it is even more fulfilling when you can witness this even within a single session. It reminds me that the work we do as therapists can really change lives.
What is less pleasant?
I am fairly new to the process as I have been practicing as a trainee therapist but so far I have not experienced any of the downsides.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org for a number of months now and I have to be honest their customer support is top notch and they are thorough in their vetting process. It is a great platform for both therapists and people who are seeking help.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes I do. I recommend Headspace, it is a nice app that has a number of handy relaxation techniques as well as courses on how to deal with stress and anxiety. It also helps if you struggle with falling or staying asleep.
In terms of books, A Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is a must read. Very insightful.
What you do for your own mental health?
I actually follow the protocol I teach my clients. Contrary to popular opinion, therapists are not immune to certain emotions or distress especially during these unprecedented times and I have noticed that applying some of the tools I use in the sessions, has really worked for me. I also try to stay connected as often as I can to my dear ones and ensuring I can fit in some exercise a few times a week even if it’s just a walk to get some fresh air.
You are a therapist in North West London and Bromley. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
My client base has been quite varied but I have seemed to attract young to mid-level career professionals aged: late 20s to mid 40s. As mentioned I also see NHS patients and those referrals are from a GP hence I have experience with a variety of patients coming to see me.
What’s your consultation room like?
My consultation room used to be a GP surgery room so it looked quite clinical. Due to the pandemic I had to move all of my sessions online, despite some initial scepticism it has worked really well to the point that with my current clients we do not see the need to go back to a face-to-face, especially in this climate. I prefer to do video sessions but I have had some new clients who preferred phone calls instead and again it’s been working well. If you haven’t tried yet, it is worth giving it a go.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
Therapy has a little bit of a stigma. There is still the perception that if you go to therapy there is something wrong with you. I would say that therapy is like a personal trainer for the mind. Usually people tend to hire a PT for different reasons but mainly because we like to take care of ourselves. I wish people would do the same with therapy: it maybe that you need to address something that you are currently going through but it is also for keeping yourself aligned so that you can make the most out of life.
There are also so many different types of therapy out there so you are bound to find something that is right for you. I address this point on my website as I believe finding the right modality and therapist it is key to enhance your experience.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I have learnt that experiencing certain emotions is human but if these emotions do escalate quickly and that’s when we need to address it as soon as possible to avoid the stacking effect which could end up overwhelming us.